Euronext Clears Major Hurdle in Oslo Bourse Takeover Battle

Euronext NV got approval from the Norwegian government to buy the Oslo stock exchange, clearing the last major hurdle in its takeover battle with Nasdaq Inc. Norway’s Finance Ministry approved it to acquire up to 100% of Oslo Bors VPS, Euronext said in a statement. The approval was confirmed in a separate statement from the government. “Reaching this critical milestone, Euronext confirms its intention to complete the transaction by the end of June 2019,” the exchange said.

Crucially, the government also declined to set a two-thirds ownership requirement, which had been pushed by Nasdaq. The Franco-Dutch exchange operator has been in a bidding war with Nasdaq over the exchange in Scandinavia’s richest country since it secured a controlling stake in an unexpected auction late last year. Nasdaq has backing of the exchange’s largest owners and holds 37 percent.

The government also confirmed Nasdaq as a suitable owner. The New York-based exchange operator said in a separate statement that the decision not to impose an ownership requirement was “disappointing” and that it would now “analyze the decision in detail and assess our options.”